#Comrades2020 – License to Dream

With the just unveiled #Comrades2020 campaign slogan, ‘Iphupho Lami – Dare to Dream’, the Comrades Marathon Association has dared all aspirant participants in next year’s Ultimate Human Race to dream.

The inspiring campaign theme of the 95th Comrades Marathon was unveiled at a launch in Johannesburg recently, attended by the nation’s top media, road-running dignitaries, CMA sponsors, stakeholders, elite athletes, sporting personalities and 2019 Comrades Marathon Champs, Edward Mothibi and Gerda Steyn.


CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn said, “The origin of the Comrades Marathon dates back to 1918 when its founder Vic Clapham had the dream of staging a living memorial to all those who suffered so greatly in the First World War. 1921 saw his vision and dream eventually turned into reality with the inaugural Comrades Marathon hosted on 24 May 1921. It would have been beyond his wildest dreams for it to have endured to attain the iconic status it has reached today.”

Winn adds, “Another great visionary, President Nelson Mandela made a surprise visit to the Comrades Marathon in 1997 and said: ‘One of the greatest challenges in life is to turn our dreams and ideas into reality.’ These words greatly inspired the CMA to base its 2020 Comrades Marathon slogan on this. It is therefore with a great sense of pride and pleasure that we unveil our campaign for next year’s race and give all athletes the greenlight to dream.”


The 95th Comrades Marathon will be a Down Run on Sunday, 14 June 2020. The race starts at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05h30 and ends 12 hours later at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, covering a 90,2km distance. This will be the 47th Down Run in Comrades history.


The entry cap has been increased from 25,000 to 27,500 entries, making the Comrades Marathon the largest single distance road race in South Africa. Of this 27,500 entry allocation, 7,000 entries are reserved exclusively for novice entrants and 2,500 entries are reserved exclusively for international entrants.


A special commemorative medal denoting the 95th edition of the Comrades Marathon will be struck for next year’s race. A new trophy will also be introduced to the 20–39 years Women’s 2nd place team prize.

Prize money totalling R4.44 million is up for grabs in the 2020 event with R525-thousand for both the male and female Winners, R260-thousand to the runners-up and R190-thousand for Third Position.


Should the Winners, both male and female, of the 2020 Comrades Marathon break the Best Time previously recorded for the Down Run, they will each receive an additional cash payment of R525,000.

David Gatebe holds the Men’s Best Time of 5:18:19 set in 2016.

Frith Van Der Merwe holds the Women’s Best Time of 5:54:43 set in 1989.


The opening date for entries is Monday, 28 October 2019. The entry period closes on 30 November 2019 or as soon as the entry cap of 27,500 entries has been reached. Prospective entrants are encouraged to get their entries in early to avoid disappointment, considering that entries sold out in just six days for the 2019 race.

Entry fees for the 2020 Comrades Marathon are as follows:

  • South African:    R 600.00
  • Foreign Athletes – Africa/ SADC countries:    R1500.00
  • Foreign Athletes – International:    R3800.00

Entry is free to all runners who have completed the Comrades Marathon 25 times or more.


Runners can enter as follows:

  • online via the Comrades Marathon website: comrades.com or the Comrades App;
  • by posting their completed entry form with proof of payment to the CMA Office: P.O. Box 100621, Scottsville, 3209;
  • by handing in their completed entry form together with payment at Comrades House, 18 Connaught Road, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg.

CMA Race Director, Rowyn James says, ‘In line with the CMA’s Driving Philosophy of being ‘people-focused and putting runners first’, we have left the entry fee of this year unchanged, for next year’s race. While the fee remains flat at R600 per South African entrant, the contracted service provider’s transaction fee which was previously absorbed by the CMA will now be paid directly by the entrant, as per other major races that apply this model.”

James adds, “We have exciting plans in place for next year’s Down Run which will finish at Durban’s acclaimed Moses Mabhida Stadium for the second time. Qualifying for the 2020 Comrades Marathon is applicable as of 24 August 2019 till 4 May 2020. The qualifying criteria for next year’s Comrades Marathon will be to complete a standard 42.2km marathon in under 4 hours and 50 minutes, or a 56km ultra-marathon in under 6 hours and 45 minutes.”


The Substitution Process will open on 16 March and close on 16 April 2020 at a cost of R200 over and above the normal applicable entry fee. James has advised that going forward all substitution transactions will be handled exclusively through the CMA Office.  An administration fee of 15% of the entry fee will be deducted by CMA from withdrawing athletes and CMA will then refund the balance of the entry fee to all withdrawing athletes. He says, “There will be no direct money or voucher exchange between athletes.”

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